This resulted in tons of well-meaning people calling those people idiots.
That resulted in other well-meaning people calling the idiot-callers idiots.
That resulted in me spending two hours figuring out for myself whether the photo is "fake" or not. [SPOILER: Turns out it's fake. (Seriously, it's "fake." Bear with me here...)]
Long story short: it's a panorama made up from multiple images. And the multiple images have all had their cross-hairs edited out to make it more attractive. And the color balances of many of the photos have been altered to make the panorama flow together more smoothly, and thus be more attractive.
1) that the image in question is a panorama stitched from multiple photos
2) that the astronaut taking it was simply standing in one spot and rotating around taking photos.
It explains the inconsistent shadows, as well as having the neat distinction of being assembled by a non-NASA amateur, from photos that are publicly available on the web. If you click through to Apollo 17 on The Apollo Archive you'll find a metric crap-ton of images like the following:
You'll notice that this is the portion of the picture showing the lunar module and astronaut, with cross-hairs intact. If you were so inclined, you could download all those images and run them through whatever panorama software you have lying around and could end up with exactly the same compositions.
So, there you have it. I have absolutely no doubt that the scenario described in the photo happened as NASA claims it did, but I have proven that the photo was very significantly edited in the process.
Turns out that everyone was right. And it's everyone that is the idiot.
For those of you not a part of the usual points of aggregation who are wondering just what Dick Cheney is actually looking at in that photo on whitehouse.gov, I'd like to share the solution. If you've not yet seen the picture, you ought to click over and check it out. And then make sure it's really whitehouse.gov, because you can't believe such a picture would be on the real whitehouse.gov.
Neat huh? Funny how your brain jumped away from the obvious to the COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL, isn't it? (I thought it was interesting, anyway. I've dubbed this phenomenon "the Dick Cheney Rorschach test," because it very clearly illustrates the inner perv in each and every one of us.)
Snopes.com frequently irritates me with their liberal use of the blanket terms "True" and "False" to denote things they have no way of knowing about. What generally happens is they come up with a plausible explanation for something and decide that this had to be what happened. I feel that it is irresponsible of them to go around claiming things as true or false on a flimsy basis when the entire internet treats them as the be-all-end-all source for the truth about sketchy things. They need to be more honest and broaden up their determinations a bit.
The most recent example of this is Phallus in Bugs Bunny Cartoon. In it they do no more than suggest a POSSIBLE explanation for the mystery flesh, yet they outright claim that it is "False." Here's the picture in question for those that don't feel like clicking over:
Their claim is that a white area on Bugs Bunny's crotch (that's much more impressive in the video) is, in actuality, just the tub behind behind him, and that what looks like a penis is just the natural curvature of Bugs's legs. Never minding the fact that Bug's's's legs never, ever, extend up into his abdomen, this answer just doesn't hold water for me. I downloaded the video off YouTube, extracted the three frames in question and examined everything thoroughly, and -- guess what -- I have reached an entirely different conclusion than the one they did.
The first thing I did was look for other pictures of Bugs with legs extending into his abdomen. Go ahead and watch the video for yourself, where you can see Bugs in that same position several times without ever having his legs extend up that high:
It just doesn't happen... they stop below his abdomen. That said, his legs do seem a bit short in the 'penis' shot; if you WERE to extend Bugs' legs into his abdomen, the length would be about right.
The next thing I did was find a frame with that area of the tub unoccupied:
I then cut out Bugs and overlaid him atop the empty tub:
As you can see, the area that people are claiming to be a penis is now the same color as the tub -- much darker than the white area in the original shot. Clearly this means that Snopes is mistaken with their assessment of the situation. Rather than the tub, it's more likely that the white in question is supposed to be Bugs' towel draping around his backside.
Except for one little detail:
Bugs' towel can be clearly seen at several points in the episode tied ABOVE his tail, meaning that it could never be seen behind his legs in the first place:
So what's all this lead to? The 'penis' can only be one of two things: a) a penis snuck in by a feisty animator, or b) a result of a poorly-sketched-out Bugs with too short of legs that was quickly 'fixed' by extending his legs up into his abdomen. After all, there are only 3 frames affected by this problem, and who would ever know? It's not like nerds are obsessively going over these things with a fine-toothed comb, right?
In any case, without any way of ever knowing whether this was an animator goof or some animator shenanigans, we can't call the claim "True" or "False." I think the reasonable answer is the goof one, but it would be dishonest to say for certain one way or the other. Which is exactly what Snopes did, and does on a regular basis.
Looking at that image, it seems almost as if the same type of effect might be able to explain that as well, because it's really the same type of image. The most noticably different features are the breasts and tummy, and they're both at exactly the same angle into the shot as Emma's were. Could it pissibly be? Let's anaglyph it and find out. (I had to scale and rotate one of the images before anaglyphing, so these aren't really the best source material for this sort of thing, but it's the best I could find.)
Interesting... The fact that it is passably 3-D (take particular notice of the knife in her belt, her overhanging hair, the space between her face and her shoulder, and the hand that's pulling back the bowstring) means one of two things:
1) this is exactly the same phenomenon as the previous photo, making all that outrage back then for naught as well
2) 3-D images are a lot easier to accidentally produce than I previously stated.
I'm going with the first one, for two reasons: firstly, because it makes me right. Secondly, because none of the 3-D images I've intentionally tried to produce with a camera have been any where near the quality of these two "accidental" ones, let alone having them occur by accident just by modifying a pic in photoshop.
So here's a challenge for the doubters: take this picture of Natalie Portman, make her boobs bigger and do whatever else you want to it and we'll see how it stacks up when converted to a 3-D anaglyph. Making boobs bigger is pretty simple, but I'd like to see if you can actually make it 3-D when you know that's your objective.
Never one to miss an opportunity to ogle Emma Watson's chest with impunity, I decided to do a little "forensic investigating" to see if there is any explanation that's a bit less sleazy. After many cries of "enhance!" were heard inside my office, I suddenly realized what happened.
See, I was having trouble getting the purportedly "before and after" images to line up properly. Things seemed skewed, shadows didn't seem to fall properly. Then I noticed the young bloke on the right's tie, and how it seemed to be at a completely different angle in the two shots.
"It's almost as if this shot was taken with two cameras at the same time," I said to myself. "Why on earth would they do that??" Then I noticed the overlayed text on the "after" image, and how it proclaimed that some of the movie would in fact be projected in 3-D iin the IMAX theaters.
Eureka! Knowing that 3-D movies are made by filming them with two cameras strategically placed a small distance apart, everything suddenly made sense.
What they're calling the "after" image is actually the shot captured by the camera that was closest to Emma, giving it a view to more of the "profile" of Emma's boob. The "before" image is the camera further away with a more "head-on" shot, making it look flatter.
Here it is as a 3-D anaglyph (that I just generated in The Gimp):
Hopefully you have some 3-D glasses around (mine say Spy-Kids 3D on them) to view this with, but I assure you that I've gotten to the bottom of it. There's no conspiracy here. No one is trying to enhance Emma (nor would the be able to if they tried; she is already a textbook example of perfection as-is), the poster designers just didn't realize that when they 2-D-ified the 3-D promotional poster (I haven't seen said poster, but I am deducing its existence based on my research), the old one used the "left" frame, and the new one used the "right" frame.
I'm sure that no one even thought of this, not realizing that two frames captured mere inches apart would cause any problems. Sadly, with thousands of internet fanboys nitpicking, it can make a huge difference.
Anyway, spread the word. No one is trying to pull anything, it's just an oversight.
Oh, and if you've seen the 3-D poster I'm postulating the existence of, I'd sure like to hear about it.
UPDATE: Some people don't quite understand, so I quickly drew up this top-view approximation of what's going on. It is not to scale.
Does that make more sense?
UPDATE: Apparently not... I thought the 3-D anaglyph would be self-explanatory, but sadly nobody actually owns the glasses required to see it. So I tried to draw a simple drawing explaining it, but that didn't do it either. See, in the drawing, the red/blue lines are meant to show what your eyes are doing when looking at a 3-D scene -- not the cameras. 3-D is all just trickery designed to fool our brains into seeing flat images the way we see objects in the real world. In the real world, each eye sees things from a slightly different perspective, and our brains calculate differences in those perspectives to tell us how far apart things are, how round, etc.
With a 3-D anaglyph, an entire scene is presented encoded in colors so that the special glasses can "filter" the view such that each eye is seeing a completely different view. But the magic really happens when the eyes start to focus at different parts of the picture. The brain is usually fairly convinced that what it's seeing is an actual scene, so your eyes begin to move about the image as they would in a normal everyday view of the world. If a 3-D image is made properly, you can focus your eyes on one element of the composition, then move to one "deeper" into the image, or "farther away" from the camera, never breaking your brain's sense of 3-D.
The 3-D anaglyph above is simply just the "before" image set as the left eye's view, and the "after" image set as the right. Nothing else was done to them, yet the 3-D encoding is perfectly realized when you put on the glasses. This doesn't happen on accident folks. My drawing above was demonstrating what your eyes would do if you'd look over at Emma's side of the composition in such a 3-D scene, to show that the closer eye would see her breast with more of a profile, and the further away one would be more head-on, thus explaining the difference in the curve of her breast and stomach. And if your eyes would behave that way, so would the two cameras.
I decided that perhaps a better explanation would be to try to take 2 similar shots myself. Now, I didn't take these at the same time, and I had to just sort of estimate the exact amount to shift the camera, so it isn't perfect -- but I think you'll get the idea. The subject of the photo was not altered in any way, the only differece between the two shots is shifting the camera about 2" laterally between taking them.
Obviously the effect is more pronounced due to the much smaller scale and the inaccurate camera movement, but I think this really concretes what I'm saying. If I had more scale action figures to play with -- and a lot more time -- I could set up the entire shot, but that's way more work than I'm prepared to put in.
I need to refute something from Sean's disproval of my latest effort to explain The Sun's photo.
The lemon: I feel this is one of those flaws in my rendering that I mentioned in my previous post. In actuality, I believe the lemon is sitting on the edge of a glass of strawberry lemonade rather than the martini glass I drew, accounting for the pinkish splotches seen running across the inside of the lemon's pericarp. Sure, the pericarp doesn't look white, but that's because it is in the shadow cast by the thicker edge of the slice. If you've ever seen a slice of lemon that's been sitting around a little while, you'd notice that the "meat" of the lemon actually shrinks as it dehydrates, accounting for the shadowing. Let's take another look at Sean's blowup:
Now, while you might argue that the pink splotches of strawberry foam are too high up on the lemon to have come from inside the glass, I'd have to assure you that those darn things are always slipping off the edge of the glass, especially when they're cut as thinly as this one is. Also, you might argue that Brits don't drink strawberry lemonade, making it impossible to even find any in the UK. That's a pretty good point, but I'd have to argue that if anyone were to have a chance of getting a strawberry lemonade where there is none, it's sure going to be someone who: a) is hanging out with a member of the Royal Family, b) has nice tits, or c) has both nice tits and a member of the Royal Family. In fact, I'd be surprised if someone matching those qualifications didn't order something impossible at every chance.
Unfortunately for me, it is Sean who is making the rules here. So, if he says it's a "button", and that it's pinned to Miss Pinkham's top, I simply have to accept it and move on. So here I go, moving on.
You'll notice that there's a button pinned to Miss Pinkham's top:
You'll also notice that this button is being pushed off to one side -- making it nearly perpendicular to her torso, as a matter of fact. Sean maintains that Miss Pinkham's breasts are following the axiom that "the breast line is one head-height below the chin," and therefore exist in the state shown in his diagram:
If there is nothing up in the upper portion of Miss Pinkham's top, then what is pushing said button to such a perpendicular angle? If there were no breasts up there, the button ought to be flat against her breast-free upper chest, no?
I feel that because my initial video footage disproved the bulk of Sean's argument against the authenticity of the photo in question, I actually do deserve the award, so I'm going to just go ahead and claim it without Sean's approval. However, Sean is right that the question of the raised left breast really needs to be answered. Since I've not yet adequately proved a case for the raisal of said breast, I have a moral opposition to the outright taking of Sean's award without his approval. So what I've done is taken half the award without permission, until which point Sean feels the need to award me the other half. You'll now find the following image proudly and boldly emblazoned on my website for the world to see, so that they will know that I deserve the "Sean Gleeson Researcher of the Century Award."
Since I've already proven the "shadows" portion to Sean's approval, I'll now prove the "left breast lift" portion as well. This solution is incredibly simple, requires no magic garment, and fits completely within what we know about the event.
I've simply extended the photograph below the bottom, using my imagination to fill in the details:
Now I'm no painter, and I have considerable trouble with anatomy, but I feel that despite the flaws in my rendering, this is a representation of a completely plausible situation. Sure, we don't know that this is what actually happened, but I feel that anyone would have to admit that a table could certainly account for Harry's "weight bearing" arm, the lifted breast, and the mystery "floating lemon wedge" -- which, inexplicably, was never initially questioned.
Q E D.
UPDATE: Crap! Foiled again. On to the next round, I guess...
It seems I'm a participant in an unfolding scandal. I was under the impression that I'd have more time to prepare a statement, but it seems the story is breaking faster than I had expected it would, prompting me to hurry this post out the door. Please excuse any typos, spelling mistakes and/or bad grammar. (My grammar is so bad that one time, she rode her Harley right into an IHOP and demanded a "Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity" or she'd tear up the place.)
Entertainment Weekly contributor Sean Gleeson recently made some allegations incriminating tabloid newspaper The Sun in yet another scandal over the Bad Boy Prince photograph they published. The Sun has printed a retraction, apologizing for the timeline mistake, but Sean maintains that editors at the paper willfully manipulated the photo in question, increasing Miss Natalie Pinkham's chest size dramatically.
Sean's allegations were based on "impossible shadows", which I determined to be nothing more than the natural behavior of light on 3D objects. (Or, in this case, boobs.) Sean demanded video evidence to back up my assertions, so I decided to put aside all modesty and demonstrate the shadow-forming power of a pair of small breasts. Assuming I wouldn't be able to get permission from the owner of the only female breasts I have access to, I decided the only thing to do was use mine. If you've ever wanted to see me topless, now is certainly your chance.
In any case, because of my selfless actions, I'm now up for the prestigious "Sean Gleeson Researcher of the Century Award," which as of yet, has not actually been awarded to anyone before. Also coming with the award is a pint of Guinness, which due to not living in the same part of the country as Sean, I'll be asking he give to the charity of my choosing. (I choose the Oklahoma City Alcoholism Center.) Tomorrow morning, Sean will announce whether I've won it or not, but either way, it's going to be huge news. Heck, it's huge news already. I'm sure by now you've seen countless links to Sean's extremely influencial site from places like boingboing, digg, fark, slashdot, the Sun, and -- of course -- perezhilton.
A few days ago, there was an announcement that someone from my neck of the woods (Vancouver, WA) has photographed what appears to be a sasquatch on Silver Star Mountain. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has posted the photos and some information on their news page, and the photos are now making their way around the blogosphere. Upon first seeing them on my 320×240 T-Moible Sidekick screen, I was intrigued, but it wasnt until today that I remember to check out the photos on my computer after seeing it again on I Can’t Eat Cheese. Here’s the best of the photos:
<p><center><img width='321' height='299' border='0' hspace='5' src='/uploads/Silver_Star_Mt._030.jpg' alt='' /></center></p>
<p>Like with the video of George Bush <a href="http://nyquil.org/archives/259-Bush-Flips-off-Reporters.html" title="my debunkery of the bird flipping">“flipping the bird”</a>, I decided that since I am apparently the only rational person around, it is up to me to play mythbuster. Now mind you, I believe that there is a possibility of such a creature as a sasquatch living in various parts of the world, and I’ll be among the most excited when/if credible evidence (ie, a dead one, or better yet a live one) is found. Sadly, today is not that day.</p>
<p>Using “high tech image processing techniques”—OK, who am I kidding? I upped the contrast and the brightness—I managed to get a little bit more detail to emerge, and things actually make quite a bit of sense to me. Before I show you my results, I want to show you a snippet of the text description on this scientific organization’s website:<blockquote> There’s no lines indicating clothing or a pack. The lump on the neck could easily be a clump of hair, similar to what you can see in the <span class="caps">PGF</span><sup>*</sup>.</p>
<p>Most snowshoers or backpackers in these conditions would look different than this silhouette.</blockquote></p>
<p>Ok, that said, I now present you with what I’ve determined this figure to be. I’ve only adjusted the brightness and the contrast, so no accusing me of making things up. Feel free to load up the original picture in the image editor of your choice, kick the brightness/contrast up a notch and take a peek if you don’t believe me.</p>
<p><center><img width='391' height='581' border='0' hspace='5' src='/uploads/bigfoot.gif' alt='' /></center></p>
<p><span class="caps">EDIT</span>: Er, I mean that the first frame of the animation has the contrast boosted. I obviously painted the colored areas by hand, but overtop of the corresponding shapes in the original image. I wasn’t trying to be cute.<br />
*: I have absolutely no idea what PGF means, I’m suspecting the F stands for footage, so they are perhaps referring to that really famous footage of bigfoot walking. If you are a bigfoot researcher, please let me know.
UPDATE: B-Will informs me that PGF stands for Patterson-Gimlin Footage, which is in-fact the footage I mentioned.
There's been some hooplah the last couple days regarding the video of Bush "flipping off reporters."
Here's the video:
Click to play
I admit, it does look quite a bit like Bush is flipping the bird, but I am 100% positive that is not what is being depicted. I spent some time this morning with the GIMP doing some rotoscoping and photographing my own hand and have come up with this scenario.
Click to enlarge
While I was painstakingly tracing hand shaped outlines on the really zoomed in image, I could clearly see the shadowing and lighting hilights of everything I was tracing. There's no doubt in my mind this is what happened.
I would have to agree with many of the detractors who say that flipping the bird is a gesture one should not expect from the President of the greatest country in the world, but even had he done it, it wouldn't be that big a deal. People tend to put politicians (and our founding fathers) on this pedestal like they are more than mere mortals. It is fun to point out when Bush makes mistakes or does stupid shit because frankly, he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. But does he have to be? No. That's what his handlers are for. Presidents don't write speeches. Presidents don't answer questions unless the question has been previously approved. I'm not saying that Bush doesn't make decisions about things, but he has good people who are there to present him with a multitude of information about the decisions, so the fact that he's no genius doesn't really matter all that much.
It isn't often that I defend Bush on things, but this seems like a pretty clear case of people who don't like him grasping at straws just trying to find stuff to make him look bad.
That said, here's video of Bush flipping the bird for real.